By next fall, students will have new ways to collaborate on projects, communicate with their teachers and make learning fun, thanks to Microsoft. As part of its Windows 10 S launch, Microsoft announced that it will upgrade Microsoft Office 365 for Education to include a special student-focused version of its Teams collaboration tool. Included free with Windows 10 S, the new version of Teams will be available in preview this month and launch officially in the summer.
"We've created a natural way to foster collaboration and encourage creativity in every classroom of very school with Microsoft Teams and Office 365," Microsoft Executive VP of Windows Terry Myerson said, during the company's press event.
The new education-centered features of Teams allows teachers to set up a control center with tabs for different classes and lessons. During its presentation, Microsoft showed a Teams screen for a middle school school history teacher with four different classes.
"Teams will help teachers with their daily activities and help students prepare for their future," said Catherine Boeger, General Manager for Microsoft Office and Office 365.
Anthony Newbold, a principal and history teacher at Bear Creek Middle School in Georgia, showed how the conversations tab allowed him to foster discussions about the lessons with his students. He also demonstrated how he was able to bring in a guest speaker, an anthropologist, via video chat. Later, Newbold showed how other Teams-based widgets like the polls widget and conversation widget can be used to help students learn.
The principal explained how Teams can help students collaborate on group projects, even if they can't get together in person after school. He showed a conversation view where the students were discussing a group project and the teacher was able to chime in with guidance to help them focus on the most important things.
Newbold also initiated a five-person Skype video call from within Teams to demonstrate how students can work on projects together after school, without necessarily gathering together in the same place. He noted that the collaboration skills students learn in school will help them later in life, when they enter the workforce.
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